Volunteer Stories

Recipe for Success

On a beautiful, calm Wednesday afternoon, I was welcomed into Dorscie Paterson’s home with open arms and a smile as bright as the sun. She is an esteemed volunteer for the Langley Hospice Society. With the warmth of Mother Nature around us, I asked Dorscie to explain her journey to hospice volunteering. She talked of seeing Elizabeth Kubler-Ross speak at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, as the topic of life and death “fascinated” her. Although this opportunity ignited her interest, it wasn’t until the death of her mother, however, that Dorscie really comprehended the weight of losing a loved one. “I remember a nurse gave me a bundle of my mother’s clothes as I walked out the hospital… I saw a man walking a dog, a woman driving a car… and all I could think was – don’t they know my mom just died? But of course they didn’t. I needed to talk about it but life was going on for everyone else”. The need to talk, to share her experience, to cry and be comforted; these were imperative to...

Volunteer Viewpoint

When I tell people I am a volunteer at the Langley Hospice Society they always ask: “what do you do there?” When I introduce myself to a new resident and/or their families they always want to know what the volunteers do. There is the explanation that volunteers will help in any way they can – make coffee and tea, do dishes, sit with people, play cards, talk, listen, hold a hand, and give tours or whatever needs to be done. What I would really like to tell people is what volunteers do is give thanks and be grateful. We are thankful that residents and/or family members will let us into their lives. We are grateful that they will turn to us when they need someone to talk to. We are thankful that they allow us to be with them at this crucial time in their lives. We are grateful they make us feel needed and welcome. We are grateful when they are thinking about the end of life and they share their wisdom with us about what is really important in life. We are thankful when we are there for...

Volunteering with the Children’s Group

Personal experiences and dealing with loss has enabled me to become a hospice volunteer for the past 2.5 years. The grieving journey was sometimes difficult and confusing. I am grateful to be able to share my knowledge and understanding with others as I continue to learn and experience new things. While supporting grieving clients, I have discovered the inner strength of human beings as they struggle through the processes of their personal journeys. During these fragile times, I feel honored to be welcomed into the clients' lives as support through listening, reflecting and learning. "What makes our group so special?" It is most important that children also receive guidance as they grieve for the loss of someone they love. I have been volunteering with the children's groups and am currently facilitating a group of younger children. What an amazing program we have for them! Sharing their stories, feeling the feelings, remembering the special things about the person they loved provides...

Langley Hospice Residence: One Volunteer’s Experience

Upon the table a small light was on and gently flickering as I entered the building. I approached the table to read the writing upon the card in front of the light. As I came closer I could see a young woman standing in the hall, her body pressed against the rail. She was trembling, her hands pressed to her mouth, with tears falling upon her cheeks. I moved towards her, my purse still over my shoulder, and extended my arms to her. We both took a step towards each other and my arms encircled her. No words were spoken as she put her head upon my shoulder and I held her close. Time passed, her tears subsided and she stood back. She was composed as she spoke only two words, “thank you”. So what building is this? What do the light and the card represent? Why was this young woman crying? I have entered a Hospice Residence. In direct line with the outside door is a table where the small light is encased within a stained glass stand. This light is turned on for twenty-four hours to honour...

Why We Volunteer

Three weeks ago a gentlemen came in to Second Story Treasures with donations from his Mom who passed at our Hospice. I started talking to him about his journey with mom. As we talked tears were running and after we finished I said, “I think you need a hug”, and he replied, “Oh, yes, please”. So today on my shift he reappeared with the end of his mom’s belongings and said “Do you remember me, as you were the one who gave me a hug?” I thanked him for the donations and as he was leaving he turned to me and said “Do you think I can have another hug?” and I replied, “Sure you can.” Volunteering at Second Story is a bit different than other thrift stores as most people donating to us have been touched by a loved one, cared for at our Hospice residence. Thanking you for giving me the opportunity to give back. Pat Anderson Thrift Store/Client Volunteer

My First Year at Hospice

After having spent a year as a volunteer at our Langley Hospice Residence, I have been contemplating what this year has meant to me; what I have learned, and what I have been able to give.  I believe my hospice work actually started two years ago as I sat with my own mother at a hospice in Regina. It was then that I decided this was where I would volunteer. In the past I have served on numerous boards and committees. From all of them I have learned a tremendous amount, and worked with very dedicated, knowledgeable, and community minded people. So why is this different for me?  I am now privileged to be on a different journey. This is a journey where those we meet even for so short a time, need so little from us but give us so much. It is where simple things are important, like a cup of tea with a lady who just smiles and touches your hand. It is a hug, without words, or an opportunity to listen to a family’s story about their loved one. It is giving a grieving family time, care and...

A Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Soul

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh If you are familiar with the Langley Hospice Society, there is a strong possibility that you have also heard of Thornton Smith. As one of our esteemed volunteers of the past fifteen years, Thornton has participated in and supported a variety of services and events. From serving as a past treasurer of our Board of Directors, to providing support in palliative and bereavement settings, and more recently, participating in the creation of our beautiful children’s garden – it is not exaggerating to state that Thornton has done it all. Thornton attributes his interest in volunteering to when he first began to lend his support at a residential home for the physically disabled in England. After he moved to Canada and created a lovely family, Thornton began to serve on our Board of Directors...

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Second Story Treasures – “The Store”

Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has made a tremendous difference in my life. I feel a real connection to the community and I've gained immeasurably from the support I've received from my fellow volunteers. We are a team - and it feels like "family". Our thrift store relies on members of the community to bring us "good stuff" that they no longer use. Our team sorts-tests-steams-packages-polishes and hangs the donations for sale in our store. Through this effort we are able to provide quality items at low cost to those who are on limited budgets. As well, we often have unique items that are either collectibles or conversation pieces. We have been known to harbour unique "treasures". The proceeds of our efforts fund Langley Hospice. If you have thought about volunteering in the community, check us out. Our operation is very organized and therefore, very productive. We complete every shift with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - well, almost every one!!! Being part of...

One Hospice Volunteer’s Viewpoint

I've been working as a hospice volunteer now since December, 2007. It was a choice that surprised many of my family and friends - my youngest son even said, "Mum, you won't be able to do that - you're too emotional"! But, that's what I'm doing, and I love it. It all started with my own grieving process ten years ago. My Dad, a vital, intelligent man, was struck down by a stroke during heart surgery. For three months he lingered in hospitals, while the family watched his body and mind slowly shut down. We felt helpless - unable to understand what was happening, unable to assist our father in his final leave-taking. The nursing staff was always changing. No one gave us the information we needed and we were unaware that hospice support existed. Nothing would have made my father's death easier to accept, but knowledge and support could have made his passage less fearful for him and less agonizing for us. After that experience, and ever since I learned hospice care services existed, I had...

Musings of a Volunteer at Langley Hospice Residence

“What made you volunteer for Hospice?” “Don't you find it sad being around the dying?” How many of us have had these and many other questions like them posed when people find out that you are a volunteer at Langley Hospice? My journey as a volunteer has been one of personal discovery, growth and challenge. I remember during my initial training, as I listened to Fernande and the other presenters, I would look for the key to unlock what was expected of me. I thought that once I learnt “how to be a good volunteer” all would be well. I initially felt frustrated at our weekly sessions as I tried to analyze and second-guess the process. But as the training progressed, I found that there is no key, in fact there is no lock, other than the one that I wrap my heart in. I needed to let go and listen; not easy for me. Each week as the training continued I would ask myself “Why am I here?” The answer that came back was: “because you want to be; be patient and listen”. I am a stubborn person, but...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

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